Three Ways To Encourage Innovation

Where does innovation fit in your business? Regardless of size, innovation is important to enter new markets and grow the reach and market share of your business.

Innovation, however, can sound rather intimidating to some businesses, but it doesn’t have to be. According to workspace design company, Red Thread, there are simple things you can do today to encourage innovation among your employees.

1. Give Your Employees A Reason To Care. Employees with an emotional investment in your company and their jobs are the ones who are going to put in the most effort and produce the best work. If your employees are only at the office for the paycheck, their willingness to participate and innovate is going to be much lower. Encourage innovation by giving them a reason to care. This motivation can come in many forms such as incentives, raises, promotions and feedback for a job well done. When employees feel like they matter, they are more likely to be invested in the company and innovate on new projects.

2. Include Social Spaces In Your Office. Give your employees a physical space to be creative and innovative. Creating social areas or lounge-type spaces in your office is a great invitation for employees to relax, mingle and get the creative juices flowing. Studies show that taking small breaks throughout the workday can boost workers’ productivity and motivation, too. When employees have a space to take a break from their hectic workday, they can recharge and come back to their desk full of fresh ideas.

3. Collaboration Is Key. When it comes to innovating and generating new ideas, the more heads in the room the better. Collaboration allows for employees to put their best ideas together and generate truly innovative solutions. In order for employees to collaborate successfully, they need the technology, space and resources to do so. Equip work spaces with collaboration technology like smart boards and wireless connection to encourage innovation. Make sure you incorporate areas where employees can individually focus as well as collaborate in groups.

Source: Red Thread helps organizations and their partners to create work environments that support productive, engaged employees. Through integrating furniture, architectural products and audiovisual technology, holistically designed spaces can dramatically impact your bottom line. Red Thread was established in 2012 when Office Environments of New England, BKM Total Office and Business Interiors joined forces as a regional enterprise. Red Thread serves as the authorized Steelcase dealer in New England.

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Using “Thank-You” To Get What You Want

Most of us like to be thanked, especially when the sentiment is sincere. For that reason, saying “thank-you” is one of the most powerful phrases in any language.

Upon meeting you, a job candidate thanks you for considering him for the position. Your boss thanks you in a staff meeting for the project you are about to undertake. A sign in your gym thanks members for placing used towels in the hamper.

Today, we share these insights into the power of saying thank-you in advance to get what you want from Kate Zabriskie, president of Business Training Works, Inc.

Why A Thank-You In Advance Works

Zabriskie says that thanking people in advance works for a several reasons. The first has to do with a sense of obligation many people feel to reciprocate after they’ve received something.

The second explanation for the technique’s effectiveness is because people want to conform to a positive image of themselves. In other words, “I’m going to act like a good worker because I am a good worker.”

A third explanation for the power of this method has to do with instruction. Often, we assume people intuitively know what they are supposed to do. Guess what? Many don’t. They’ve forgotten, they’re preoccupied or they’re simply not thinking. Offered in the right way, many people will follow a suggested course of action, because it’s the path of least resistance.

The Structure Of Saying Thank-You In Advance

To plan an advanced thank-you, use the following framework:

1. Think about the desired result. “I want my employees to show up on time.”

2. Identify the type of people who typically demonstrate that behavior. “Responsible and accountable people show up on time.”

3. Craft a statement that identifies the people you are addressing as that group, and be specific about the result you want to see. For example: “I appreciate the fact that I have such a dedicated team. I want to thank you in advance for giving 110 percent this week. The hours during this busy season are demanding, and it takes a true group of professionals to act upbeat and engaged with every visitor. This is why we hired you.”

Tips and Cautions:

1. Thanking people for good behavior should be done before you’ve observed anything particularly egregious. For example, imagine a chaotic scene in a retail environment where customers are pushing and shoving each other. It’s more difficult to thank them into a reverse course after they’ve gone wild. However, a little advanced gratitude offered earlier could have helped avoid mayhem.

2. Thanking people is not a substitute for confronting inappropriate behavior. For example, if an employee comes to work dressed improperly, you can’t thank your way around addressing the problem. However, you can use a thank you as part of the corrective conversation. “Mary, I appreciate you listening to me this morning, and I want to thank you in advance for taking the conversation seriously. I know you have what it takes to represent our company well. I look forward to seeing you be successful here.”

3. Thanking people for everything dilutes the method’s effectiveness. “Bill, I want to thank you for coming in on time today. I know how important punctuality is to you, so thank you for parking in the employee lot and not taking a visitor’s space.” Too much of that, and Bill is going to think you’ve got a screw or two loose. Worse still, he’s not going to believe a word you say.

Perfecting the science and art of the advanced thank-you takes time but it can be an important tool of influence.

PCT wants to thank you in advance for checking your inbox tomorrow for the next issue.

Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised.

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Six Body Language Tricks To Create Instant Rapport

Research shows that up to 80 percent of the information we receive in personal conversation is transmitted nonverbally, making body language as critical as the words we use. According to the book, How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes, you can capture and hold anyone’s attention without saying a single word.

here we take a look as, Business Insider contributor Maggie Zhang shares these body language tips from Lowndes’ book for capturing someone’s attention. Try these during your next prospect or customer meeting to increase your credibility and engagement.

1. The Flooding Smile: “Don’t flash an immediate smile when you greet someone,” says Lowndes. If you do, it appears as if anyone in your line of sight would receive that same smile. Instead, pause and look at the other person’s face for a second, and then let a “big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overflow into your eyes.”

This delayed, slower smile creates a sense of sincerity and the recipient feels like this smile was specifically for them. It increases the depth of how people perceive you.

2. Sticky Eyes: “Pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s eyes with sticky, warm taffy,” Lowndes advises. After the person speaks, don’t break eye contact. Lowndes says, “When you must look away, do it ever so slowly, reluctantly, stretching the gooey taffy until the tiny string finally breaks.” You can also try counting your conversation partner’s blinks to maintain eye contact. In a case study, subjects reported significantly higher feelings of respect and fondness for their colleagues who used this technique.

3. Epoxy Eyes: In a group of people, you should occasionally look at the person you are interested in, no matter who else is talking. If your attention is drawn to that person even when they are simply listening, you show that you are interested in his or her reactions. You should primarily watch the speaker, but allow your glance to bounce to your target when the speaker finishes interesting points.

4. The Big-Baby Pivot: People are very conscious of how you react to them. When you meet someone new, turn your body fully toward them and give them the same, undivided attention you would give a baby. Lowndes says, “Pivoting 100 percent toward the new person shouts, ‘I think you are very, very special.'”

5. Limit The Fidget: If you want to appear credible, try not to move too much when your conversation really matters. “Do not fidget, twitch, wiggle, squirm or scratch,” Lowndes says. Frequent hand motions near your face can give your listener the feeling that you’re lying or anxious. Instead, simply fix a constant gaze on the listener and show them that you’re fully concentrated on the matter at hand.

6. Hello, Old Friend: When you first meet someone, imagine they’re your old friend. According to Lowndes, this will cause a lot of subconscious reactions in your body, from the softening of your eyebrows to the positioning of your toes. When you act as though you like someone, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy — you might really start to like them. The next time you are introduced to someone new, try this positive approach.

Using these tips in various business settings will set the tone for more positive working relationships.

Source: Maggie Zhang, an English major from Princeton University, is an editorial intern at Business Insider. Her article appeared in the Thrive Global Community.

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Create A Positive, Productive Workplace

Have you ever worked in a setting that was not a happy place? Ever had a boss that always had their door closed and did not welcome questions or conversation, which created an isolated environment. Plus, the company’s structure was continually changing, so job security was always in question. And there was a definite pecking order of favorite employees, causing animosity among teammates. Working in an environment like this can be stressful, distracting and downright depressing.

Today, we share a model for creating a happy workplace by looking to one of the most cheerful places on earth—the North Pole—and Santa’s workshop. Human resources expert Susan Heathfield has studied the elves who work there (well, the concept anyway), and says they are always happy and continue to meet production demand for toys as the world’s population of children increases. Based on this model, here’s what Heathfield says are the keys to a creating a happy workplace.

Create a purpose. Santa’s elves have a higher purpose than themselves by providing little boys and girls all over the world with exactly what they want for Christmas. Bringing joy through their work and knowing that they are participating in an activity that impacts millions in a positive way brings a sense of purpose and happiness.

Know your customer. Elves have a customer intelligence gathering system that allows them to get up close with customers—literally. They get to see people in shopping centers all over the world and ask them what they want. Elves listen and they build intelligence on the customer. These insights are rewarding in allowing them to be targeted in their work. And by meeting the customer needs, they have happy customers who will refer their work to others.

Create a sense of security. Elves feel totally needed and secure in their employment. Santa simply can’t serve the entire world on his own. It takes a spirit of teamwork between the elves, reindeer and the entire North Pole operations team. Elves have lots of customer orders and they know they will never run out of work. Job security and teamwork are desirable conditions to create happy employees.

Live the mission and vision. Elves have clear direction. They must meet the goal of delivering presents on Christmas Eve. They must do whatever it takes to make that delivery happen. And they have a vision: to create joy for boys and girls around the world. It’s an aspiration that keeps the elf team motivated and focused, and when they hit their goals, the impact is highly rewarding. Elves know they make a difference to millions of lives.

Have an open-door policy. One key principle at the North Pole is that jolly old elf, Santa. He creates an atmosphere of laughter and trust, yet he motivates and delegates across the elf teams. He doesn’t play favorites because every elf matters to get the work done, and every elf’s ideas are seriously considered. Santa creates an environment in which he’s approachable by all elves, no matter their roles.

Tap into these elf-friendly tips to create a happy and productive workplace for your team in 2018.

Source: Susan Heathfield is a human resources expert. She is a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues and in management development to create forward-thinking workplaces. She is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer and writer.

Five Ways To Maintain Brand Value

When it comes to your business, do you know the value of your brand? In other words, what is the monetary impact of your brand to your bottom line? According to Forbes magazine, the values of some of the world’s top brands look like this: Apple, $104.3 billion; Microsoft, $56.7 billion; and Coca-Cola, $54.9 billion.

Your brand value is most likely not in the billions like these global companies, but nonetheless, it’s important to maintain your brand value. Here, we share five ways to retain your reputation, make the most of economic upswings and positively impact your bottom line from Mark Di Somma, a partner and senior brand strategist at The Blake Project.

1. Be part of a rising category. If you have a brand in a rising product category, then you want to invest in building that brand interest. If you don’t have a brand in an up-and-coming category, then consider how you can get your brand in that space either through acquisition, a partnership or co-branding opportunity.

2. Tackle social issues. What are the reputational or social issues that your market segment faces? What impact could your brand have on a social issue? For example, product safety is closely tied to child safety. In the fast-food industry, those brands are being challenged by healthier brands, so they are having to step up with more health and nutrition programs.

3. Increase “share of life.” This phrase from Millward Brown refers to expanding your touchpoints and extending your ecosystem to reach customers in multiple ways and through multiple products and channels. Di Somma uses the example of Apple, a brand that affects lives every day through mobile phones, apps, iPads, point-of-purchase, music and entertainment. Amazon is another brand example of this with its easy, one-click shopping and relevant purchase recommendations. Nike, with its Nike+ Fuelband, has transformed itself from a mere apparel brand to a companion and coach for runners.

4. Be more convenient. One way brands like Apple and Amazon are successful is by creating seamless experiences. This is convenient for the consumer while also helping the brand control the consumer journey. Di Somma points out that digital media plays a key role with this, so think of ways you can develop digital touchpoints through your brand to keep the customer engaged and connected.

5. Beautify. Continue to review and adjust the design and style of your products and your advertising so that your brand feels “now.” This is hard, but not impossible, for brands with long lead times. It is also relative, and chances are your competitors face the same logistical issues that you do. By continually checking the appeal of what you offer, you can introduce your brand to new segments. Remember the slogan, “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile”? An updated car design led to a younger market for the car manufacturer.

Be a champion of your brand and try these tactics to continue to increase your brand value.

Source: Mark Di Somma is a partner and senior brand strategist at The Blake Project. For more than 20 years he has helped decision makers, brand owners and brand agencies define, articulate and elevate the value of their brands.

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Want Innovation? Learn From Ants

As is virtually always discussed, innovation plays an important role in any organization, both large and small, but there’s a significant difference in how innovation shows up in each type of organization.

Large companies usually have innovation teams focused on large-scale problems and large- scale production. Ron Ashkenas and Markus Spiegel, authors and contributors to HBR.org, note that these types of teams move in a specified direction at predictable speed.

On the other hand, innovation is not as organized and formal in small companies. It’s usually more spontaneous and nimble, driven by those wearing multiple hats.

Ashkenas and Spiegel have studied more than a dozen global organizations and their approaches to innovation—some successful and some not so much. Here, we share four of their findings on innovation.

1. It takes the mindset of an ant. Teams functioning like machines—blindly following highly defined processes and execution plans—were the least effective at achieving their goals and coming up with innovations. The most successful teams operated less like highly efficient machines and more like ant colonies, where they quickly adapted to changes in their environment. They had a set of simple rules and a clear goal, allowing them to be more flexible and able to learn along the way.

2. Centralize your mission; loosen your structure. As Ashkenas and Spiegel point out, ants have no central control, no single “master ant,” yet the entire colony works together as one community. They’re able to align their individual activities to the powerful common purpose that each ant shares—the survival of the nest. Thus, when the environment shifts, individual ants adapt their roles for the collective good.

Leaders of effective innovation teams communicate and centralize the mission of the team, but give the team members the freedom to do what’s needed to achieve their part. This allows the team to adapt when they hit dead ends. This is also why companies like Google align their people through yearly and quarterly goals, while giving them the ability to work toward these results in multiple ways.

3. Communication is key. Back to the ants. We’ve all seen long ant trails leading to a food source. If the source is particularly good, the trail intensifies and more ants follow it. It’s a time- and energy-saving way to communicate.

Rich, frequent and candid communication is also important for organizational teams to find innovations as quickly as possible. People need to bounce around ideas, share insights and challenge each other’s assumptions. Leaders need to make sure their teams have the time, space and tools to make this happen. Bring your team together often and create a comfortable atmosphere for dialog and brainstorming. Make it easy to share ideas through tools like instant messaging and file sharing.

4. Experiment with ideas. Always test new ideas and new ways of doing things. It’s at the heart of innovation. Ashkenas and Spiegel us the example of Intuit, who puts new product ideas on the internet before they are developed to test whether there is a market. If there’s interest, they proceed with development; if not, they modify the idea or quietly withdraw it.

Encourage your team to test ideas through action instead of just through studies and analyses. Of course, this requires both dollars and resources to build prototypes and mock-ups early in the discovery process and to engage directly with customers to get rapid feedback and test assumptions.

Embrace these management concepts behind innovation and watch your “colony” flourish.

Source: Ron Ashkenas is partner emeritus at Shaffer Consulting, where he helped leading organizations achieve dramatic performance improvements and coached CEOs and senior executives on strengthening their leadership capacity. He’s also an avid author and contributor to publications such as Harvard Business Reviewon topics related to organizational change.

Markus Spiegel is partner at Schaffer Consulting where he helps organizations to master the challenges in complex environments. His experience includes working in the automotive and financial services industry, including key roles at the BMW Group. He is also a contributor to Harvard Business Review.

Five Essential Principles For Growing Your Small Business

When it comes to succeeding in growing a small business, many people view success as luck. Some will succeed and some won’t. And it’s stories like John Mackey’s that inspire us to try. Mackey started a small vegetarian store in Austin, Texas, more than 30 years ago and this year sold his Whole Foods empireto Amazon at a price tag of $13.7 billon.

Business author Faisal Hoque points out in his recent Fast Company article that luck isn’t what it takes. Small business success comes from five essential elements, which we’ll share here.

1. Timing is Everything. The timing of your product or service must be right in the marketplace. There must be a need or a pain point that your product or service solves in order to gain interest and traction. If the market isn’t ready, then your business will fail or you will need to wait to launch your product or adjust your product to the market needs. As Hoque points out, smaller businesses have the advantage of being able to make choices and implement changes without the exhaustive process and conflicting points of view that slow down major corporations.

2. Brand, Brand, Brand. You need to create a positive experience for your customers to stay competitive. And, if you want to create a scalable business, you must understand just how crucial it is to build brand equity. The emotional attachment that links customers to your product, as opposed to any other, translates into sustainable growth. Hoque shares these basic rules for brand-building:

Choose your target audience. The surest road to product failure is to try to be all things to all people.

Connect with the public. Your objective is to make your audience feel an emotional attachment to your brand.

Inspire and influence your audience. An inspirational brand message is far more influential than one that just highlights product feature functions.

Reinforce the brand image within your company. Make sure employees at every level of your organization work and behave in a way that reinforces your brand image.

3. Scale Your Sales. You also need repeatable sales processes to create a business that can easily grow. It is one thing to sign up a few customers; it is another thing entirely to identify, design and implement repeatable sales and customer delivery processes. According to Hoque, you know your business is scalable when:

You can add new hires at the same productivity level as yourself or your sales leader.

You can increase the sources of your customer leads on a consistent basis.

Your sales conversion rate and revenue can be consistently forecasted.

Your cost to acquire a new customer is significantly less than the amount you can earn from that customer over time.

Your customers get the right product in the right place at the right time.

4. Embrace Technology. Bottom line, it pays to embrace technology. If a small business can identify a genuine need, technology likely exists to fulfill that need both locally and globally. There are few barriers to entry in an age where anyone with wireless can cheaply and quickly access the enabling technologies needed to execute their business model. Put effort into mapping out a plan that ties technology into your operational and business needs.

5. De-Stress For Success. As Hoque points out, managing the success of a small business can be twice as stressful as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, nearly three times as stressful as raising children, and more than four times as stressful as managing your own personal finances. In fact, a Bank of America survey pointed out that 38 percent of small business owners maintain full or part-time jobs while running their own business.

If you’re not happy, healthy and motivated, growing your business will be difficult. You also set the tone for everyone who works with you. So, take care of your mental and physical well-being so that you can provide the best of you to the business.

PCT returns tomorrow with more tips for success.

Source: Faisal Hoque is founder of SHADOKA and other companies. His newest book is “Survive to Thrive — 27 Practices of Resilient Entrepreneurs, Innovators, And Leaders” (Motivational Press, 2015). He is formerly of GE, and other global brands, business author and contributor to Fast CompanyBusiness Insider and the Huffington Post.

Regaining Focus

It starts the moment you wake up in the morning, or maybe it’s the reason you wake from slumber. It’s the buzz of notifications on your smartphone or tablet. Most of us immediately check the devices by our bedside. It’s the first thing we do in the morning, even before kissing our spouse or letting the dog out.

This is one example of how digital devices have inundated our lives. In fact, studies show that people use digital devises an average of 12 hours a day. And the digital deluge is distracting us from gaining focus in other areas of our lives—including work.

 

Another area of distraction is our excessive addiction to meetings, according to William Treseder founding partner at BMNT and HBR.org contributor, who adds that studies indicate that we spend anywhere from 35 to 55 percent of our time in meetings.

To stay focused on truly meaningful activity at work, something has to change. Today, we share a few tips from Treseder on how to regain focus at work.

Practice mindfulness. The single biggest mistake most of us make is in how we start the day. As we mentioned above, the first thing most of us do is check our phones. Treseder quotes Stanford psychologist Emma Seppälä, author of The Happiness Track, who says that “By constantly engaging our stress response [when we check our phones], we ironically are impairing the very cognitive abilities—like memory and attention—that we so desperately need.”

Instead, begin your day with some quiet time. Take a few deep breaths or even meditate for 20 or 30 minutes. This allows you to train your body to stay calm in the midst of stress. It helps you make better decisions.

Organize tasks. Another common mistake is letting other people fill in your calendar, particularly in the morning. You have to make sure you leave enough time to accomplish complex, creative tasks. Schedule time for this type of work in the morning, when you can be most creative, and push other types of activity, like status meetings, to the afternoon.

Clean up. Is your desk a mess? What about the desktop of your computer? Your smartphone’s home screen? These areas might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but your environment affects your productivity and quality of work. As Treseder says, keeping a neat work environment, both physical and digital, is essential to your ability to stay focused. So, create folders on your desktop to get rid of all the random files, and keep only the most important eight to 12 apps on your home screen. And turn off all unnecessary notifications.

Shrink meetings and schedule time between. How many people were in your most recent meeting? More importantly, how many of them were actually involved in the creation or fulfillment of deliverables from that meeting? Limit the number of people in your meetings to ensure focus. Make sure each meeting results in action items, a timeline for each action item, and one person who is responsible for ensuring that it gets done. This takes the load off of you to “babysit” or spend your time following up.

Also, be sure to add time between your meetings to reflect and prioritize. It seems that a sign of status at the office is the person who has back-to-back meetings (read: that person must be very important)., Well, that person will not have time to do his or her own work and will experience burn out very quickly. Be sure to build in buffers in your calendar so you can have time to process.

Source: William Treseder is a founding partner at BMNT, a problem-solving consultancy in Silicon Valley. He loves to find creative ways to improve the everyday behaviors that define our lives. Images courtesy of Google image search.

How Do You Rate As A Boss?

Have you ever had a great boss? I mean a really great boss? I’ve had many good bosses over my long career. Looking back, the ones who had the most impact on me were those who were knowledgeable, pushed me by setting high expectations and taught me new skills.

National Bosses Day is coming up on October 16. If you are a boss, it’s a perfect time to take stock and determine what improvements would make you an exceptional boss. Today we share these insights from business author Jeff Haden.

1. Look past the action to understand the motivation. Sometimes an employee makes a mistake or does the wrong thing. Sometimes an employee takes over a project or role without approval. Sometimes an employee jockeys for position, plays political games or ignores company objectives in pursuit of a personal agenda. When that happens, it’s easy to assume that person won’t listen or doesn’t care. But there is usually a deeper reason for the behavior. A good boss will look at the underlying issue to determine why the employee is frustrated or if there is any justification for the employee’s action.

2. Forgive and forget. We all make mistakes at times. When an employee makes a mistake–especially a major mistake—it’s easy to label that employee as incompetent. A good boss will view the mistake as one incident and use the opportunity to educate the employee, not judge the employee in the future based on theerror.

3. Focus on employee goals as much as organizational goals. An effective and memorable boss will inspire his or her team to achieve corporate goals, but tie in how employees will benefit by achieving the corporate goals. Whether they get professional development or an opportunity to grow, those who feel a sense of personal purpose almost always outperform employees who feel a sense of company purpose. If you’re a great boss, you know your employees well enough to tap the personal, not just the professional.

4. Provide support without seeking credit. A good boss is not about self-promotion. For example, if there is an issue with a client who is upset or an employee who is frustrated, a good boss will support the employee dealing with the issue. This means getting all the facts and giving the employee the benefit of the doubt. A good boss will support the employee, even if it sheds a negative light on the boss.

5. Make fewer public decisions. When a decision needs to be made, most of the time the best person to make that decision is the employee closest to the issue. Great bosses trust the expertise of their employees and select the appropriate person to make a decision.

6. Don’t see control as a reward. Many people desperately want to be the boss so they can call the shots and be in control of the team. An effective boss is not focused on gaining control, but instead is focused on helping others and the organization as a whole.

7. Let employees have the ideas. A good boss is a nurturing boss. You get to know your employees, their strengths and what motivates them. Then you put them in situations where they can generate ideas and have a vested interest in the goals and action steps. You see the potential in your employees—and you find ways to let them “take the ball and run with it.”

8. Always feel like you could do better. Good leadership never stops. You always strive for process improvement, better quality, faster service and a better bottom line. Good leaders also strive to understand and elevate their employees.

Looking for another great way to be an exceptional boss? Read about 14 of the industry’s best bosses in PPB‘s October issue.

Source: Jeff Haden is a ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer, and contributing editor to Inc. He learned much of what he knows about business and technology working his way up to managing a 250-employee book plant; everything else he picked up as a ghostwriter for innovators and business leaders. He’s written more than 50 nonfiction books, along with hundreds of articles and reports. And he’s collected four years of tips and advice in his book TransForm: Dramatically Improve Your Career, Business, Relationships, and Life … One Simple Step at a Time.
Image courtesy of Google Image search.

Five Smarter Ways To Manage Others

Today, many employers say they’re having trouble retaining their younger employees—specifically, Millennials. At 82 million strong, Millennials are the workforce of the future. Studies have shown they want to work where they can make a difference and contribute to something bigger than themselves.

It’s imperative to realize that the people in your organization—especially young people—are the fuel to your long-term success, and the one person who affects that outcome more than any other is the frontline manager.

Today,we’re sharing five defined pillars of success for managers from business coach Jan Makala.

1. Engage employees with a compelling vision of what is expected, and provide the mission to achieve that vision. People respond when they are doing or contributing to something bigger than themselves. When national crises such as earthquakes or hurricanes occur, people are driven to volunteer not because they have to, but because they want to. As a manager, you need to create and share the vision and the culture that gives employees a reason to care, to show up and to do their jobs with a sense of purpose and excellence. Let them know that without them doing what they do, you wouldn’t achieve the results that you desire.

2. Make decisions based on productivity. By keeping your eye on the goal and having your people similarly focused, everyone will understand why certain decisions are made and can buy in. If disagreements occur, these discussions and opinions are welcomed because they are relevant to achieving a better outcome toward the end objective.

3. Motivate every team member to take action. People are more likely to take action if they know what is expected of them. When expectations are clearly defined, employees are less likely to disappoint their manager or their peers. Employees will work together without your direction or approval when they all know their roles and have bought into achieving the desired results. If your people don’t know what is expected, don’t be surprised by what you get

4. Have the assertiveness to drive outcomes. Are you more concerned with the process or the outcome? Managers are in place to strive for positive results. Employees may find ways to produce an outcome that the manager never thought of. Give employees the freedom to experiment and try new ways of doing things. Keep your team apprised of progress to keep them motivated If you neglect to provide appropriate feedback on your employees’ progress, you’ll immediate notice a decline in the contributions of team members. Remember, feedback is the breakfast of champions—be generous with your thoughts and expectations.

5. Create a culture that you want. Culture impacts every aspect of how you get things done, from hiring and developing the talents of the employees to customer service. Define your desired culture and then take it from words to actions. If you don’t like the culture you currently have or the results that you are currently obtaining, you are the only person who can change it. Your actions have to mirror what you desire. Do you allow negative behavior to go unchallenged? Realize negative behavior brings everyone down. Your employees are watching, and if they see you doing nothing, your lack of action will send a powerful message.

When employees believe that their manager truly cares about them as individuals, they will walk through fire for that manager. This connection gets to the heart of employee engagement.

Create an environment where people want to come to work, and your business will reap the rewards.

Source: Jan Makela is an executive coach, highly-sought after speaker, and best-selling author of Cracking the Code to Success and Be the Manager People Won’t Leave. Makela has a long and successful history of working with companies to ensure quality hiring and training practices. His specialty revolves around strength-based leadership development, with a particular focus on working with senior and mid-level executives, business owners and professionals.